Following state and national trends, the Northern Virginia region's unemployment rate declined in May to 8.6%, down from 10% in April.
However, the region's unemployment rate was significantly higher than the 2.3% recorded in May 2019, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Wednesday.
The VEC reported that about 141,000 Northern Virginia residents were out of work and seeking employment in May, down from 163,000 in April. The region's workforce grew by about 26,000, to just over 1.5 million. However, that was significantly less than the 1.63 million employed in May 2019.
Unemployment rates declined across all Northern Virginia localities, with Manassas Park posting the highest rate, 10.5%, and Falls Church the lowest, 4.9%.
Unemployment rates by locality
The unemployment rate is calculated based on a household survey typically conducted around the middle of the month, and only residents who are actively looking for work are considered unemployed. A separate report on unemployment claims shows that nearly 250,000 Northern Virginia residents have filed for unemployment benefits since pandemic-related business shutdowns began in mid-March. However, the number of continuing claims is down to about 107,000.
Falls Church's rate was the lowest in the state for May among all counties and cities. Petersburg had the highest rate, 17.2%.